I am elated to report that all ten “ducklings” on the dorm plaza have taken wing and flown away. As we predicted from the condition of their feathers, they would be ready to leave last week—and, indeed, they made their egress over that week.
Last Monday: Nine ducklings (one had left over the preceding weekend)
Last Wednesday: Seven ducklings (two more left)
Last Friday: Four ducklings (three more left)
This morning: Zero ducklings and no mom (last four left)
Here is the very first shot (iPhone camera) I took of Marie and her brood; it was June 23, and they were only a couple of days old. All ten are crowded into their tiny pool (we immediately got larger ones). Food is on the right.
And from last Monday, August 21. It was eight weeks from hatching to flight. Marie is on the extreme right, still watching over her seven remaining babies. Hen mallards make terrific moms!
All we can hope for now is that every offspring has found a pond or other body of water with food. I can only imagine how they felt when they were first able to swim at great length, duck and dabble under water, do zoomies, hunt for food, and take to the air on their mighty wings. They’re doing what natural selection and their genes built them to do. If that means “happiness” for ducks, then they’re happy.
We are also a bit sad that they’re gone, but that’s far outweighed by the satisfaction of Team Duck in knowing that we saved every one, and that we did our job well.
Thanks to the other members of the team, Marie and Gracemary, for sharing the hard work of tending these fowl. And thanks to the woman in charge of the dorm who, after asking us for help, cooperated with us to get food and water to the brood three times a week.